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American Society of Clinical Oncology issues annual report on state of clinical cancer science

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has just released its annual report on the top cancer advances of the year. Clinical Cancer Advances 2012: ASCO's Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer, highlights major achievements in precision medicine, cancer screening and overcoming treatment resistance.

"Consistent, significant achievements are being made in oncology care with novel therapeutics, even in malignancies that have previously had few treatment options, as well as defining factors that will predict for response to treatment. ASCO's report distills the most significant of these advances that are impacting the lives of cancer patients today," said Bruce Roth, MD, Co-Executive Editor of the report."

Many of the top clinical research advances of 2012 involve therapeutic approaches that stem from our growing understanding of the complex biology of cancer, which enables development of targeted drugs and treatments tailored to molecular characteristics of individual patients and their tumors. This research has led to seven new FDA approvals for anticancer agents in 2012, some of which will help patients with treatment-resistant forms of cancer.

The top cancer advances from this year include:

  • Two new therapies which delay progression of advanced breast cancer One study found adding targeted therapy to hormonal therapy delays disease progression in postmenopausal women with advanced hormone receptor-positive breast cancer
  • Another advance was an armed antibody or "smart bomb" approach called TDM-1 to selectively deliver medicine to HER2-positive breast cancer cells, leaving healthy cells alone
  • Research finding that pre-operative chemotherapy and radiation improves survival for patients with esophageal cancer
  • A study showing screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy reduces colorectal cancer incidence and death rates
  • Research showing a new targeted treatment extends survival for patients with advanced prostate cancer

The large number of advances featured in this year's report showcase the payoff of the national investment in clinical cancer research on prevention, screening, survival and quality of life for patients with cancer. The report, now in its eighth year, features 87 studies, 17 of which were designated as major advances by the report's 21-person editorial board.

This year's report also contains "The Policy Environment: ASCO in Action in 2012" section, which outlines some of the key cancer policy issues facing physicians and patients, including addressing the nation's cancer drug shortages and ensuring all patients have access to high-quality care. Additional topics covered in this section include ASCO's initiative to build a rapid learning system for oncology called CancerLinQ and the Society's recommendations for improving quality and value in cancer care through the Choosing Wisely campaign and ASCO's Top Five list.

Contact: Susie Tappouni
American Society of Clinical Oncology

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